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What is the purpose of the "non-endorsement clause" in the New BSD license?

it seems smarter to pick the BSD license over the MIT, to prevent people using your name in an unwanted way.

If that is the case, why do people still pick the MIT license over BSD license?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ross Patterson, MichaelT, gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Ozz Oct 3 '13 at 10:06

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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The MIT license is widely understood to mean "you can do whatever you wish with this code." I hadn't heard of the BSD "non-endorsement" clause until you mentioned it, and for an individual developer I'm not sure that clause adds any value. All other things being equal, simpler is better. –  Robert Harvey Jun 7 '11 at 22:41
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3 Answers

up vote 45 down vote accepted

A friend of mine once pointed out that licenses tell you what the license authors were scared of.

If you're scared of having your name dragged through the mud, then the BSD license will seem better. If you're scared of having your software put into a proprietary piece of software, then the GPL will seem better. Whatever the license, the author chooses it because it protects them against what they are afraid of.

Different people have different concerns and so use different licenses.

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This is a good answer, but it doesn't answer the question. –  Michael Jul 11 '13 at 9:23
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so the MIT is for the brave and fearless? –  jonathan Aug 4 '13 at 23:55
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@Michael: It does answer the question. Perfectly. You want a better answer than this, hire a lawyer who specializes in licensing law. –  Robert Harvey Oct 2 '13 at 3:58
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@jonathan - No, it is for people who fear not being useful to the community. –  mouviciel Oct 2 '13 at 7:23
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@jonathan, the truly brave and fearless would reverse the liability clause and claim full responsibility for any damage caused by the software. –  Erik B Nov 14 '13 at 13:30
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Short answer is the MIT is a simpler license.

Yes in many ways I like the clause about people not being able to use your name in an unwanted way, but the reality is most people are not too concerned about that. If you are concerned about that then you are probably using the BSD license already.

Additionally the MIT License can just be copied and pasted as is while the BSD license requires editing it from project to project. Personally I like both, and feel they are similar enough that I am not losing much picking the MIT license for my project, but that is just my personal opinion.

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It's only the 3-clause BSD license that you would possibly need to edit, the 2-clause one is basically just the same as the MIT license but with (IMO) one advantage, it's easier to quickly see the terms of the license since they're in a bullet list. –  kyrias Sep 29 '13 at 20:58
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@Demizey "Advantage: Easier to see terms". ;D –  Achmed Durangi Oct 15 '13 at 16:51
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As you may know, the original BSD license had 4 clauses, one of them being an "advertisement clause". The non-endorsement clause was likely present to accompany the advertising clause and not allow the name of the project be dragged through the mud while being advertised.

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how does this answer the question asked? –  gnat Oct 2 '13 at 6:37
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